Home > Fated (Relentless #6)(11)

Fated (Relentless #6)(11)
Author: Karen Lynch

“We’ve got trouble here.”

My heart began to pound. “Is Beth okay?”

“Yes. She’s here beside me. A van pulled up behind the house a few minutes ago, and I just heard a human scream inside the house. We need to go in.”

“I’m on my way.” I looked at Will. “Call in one of the other teams.”

“On it.”

I pulled out my phone as I ran for my bike and called Brock, who was patrolling Newport Beach with Mason tonight. I gave him the address, and he said they’d meet us there. Raoul and I could handle a small nest, but I preferred to have backup with humans involved. I had no idea how long it would take another team to respond if they were busy.

The house was an old Queen Anne Victorian surrounded by a short iron fence and well-maintained rose bushes. It didn’t look anything like what you’d expect for a vampire nest, which made it the perfect hideaway for them. Vampires looking to set up house liked to prey on older people who lived alone. They killed the house’s owner and moved in with no one the wiser.

Beth and Raoul were camped out on the roof of a small convenience store across the street from the house. They met me in the parking lot behind the store, which was closed for the night, and Raoul filled me in.

“We’ve spotted four different vampires coming and going since yesterday. I couldn’t see how many arrived in the van though, so I have no idea how many are in there now.”

“Young vampires?” I asked.

“Couldn’t tell from here.”

I studied the house. When Nikolas and I had worked as a team, we’d thought nothing of entering a small nest without backup. I’d worked with him so long we could practically read each other’s minds. Raoul was a seasoned warrior, but we’d never raided a nest together. We could wait for Brock, but we had no idea of the condition of the humans in the house.

“Raoul, you climb up to the roof of the porch and see if you can get in that way. I’ll take one of the downstairs windows. Beth, you stay here.”

She nodded, though I could see the disappointment in her eyes. No warrior wanted to stand by and watch the action, but new warriors did not enter a nest, at least not until after it had been cleared out.

Raoul and I approached the house carefully, splitting up after we’d hopped the fence. He went toward the porch, and I walked around the house, stopping at each window to listen for movement or voices inside. I peered into a small laundry room and knew this was the best entry point for me. The odds of a vampire using a laundry room were slim, so I could enter undetected.

I wasn’t surprised to find the window unlatched. Vampires were careless when it came to security, too sure of their own strength to worry about an attack. I eased the window up and slipped in, listening for sounds from the rest of the house.

Raised voices came from another room, and it didn’t take long to figure out they were arguing over what to do with the humans. A male vampire wanted to make them last a few days, and a female argued that there were plenty of humans in the city when these were gone.

I smiled. New vampires.

I left the laundry room and moved stealthily down a hallway toward the voices. Peering through an open door, I saw the two vampires facing off against each other in the middle of the living room. On the couch, two women and a man huddled together. The man had blood on the collar of his white shirt, and the dazed look on his face told me he’d been fed upon. But the three of them were alive, and that was all that mattered.

A loud thump upstairs silenced the two vampires, and I ducked out of sight as they turned to the doorway.

“He’d better not be messing with her,” the male growled. “I told him that one was mine.”

Footsteps approached the doorway, and I prepared to strike. The male ran into the hall, his eyes going wide when he saw me. Before he could yell a warning, I drove my sword into his chest. He gasped and sank to the floor.

“Jack,” the female called.

I didn’t wait for her to come check on her friend. I sped into the living room, moving too fast for her eyes to track. She barely got out a scream before my blade silenced her.

One of the human women cried out, and I lowered my sword to appear less threatening.

“How many are there?” I asked them.

“F-four,” the other woman croaked.

“Stay here,” I ordered them.

I left the room, and I was at the bottom of the stairs when Raoul shouted from above. “We have a runner.”

Fear shot through me. Beth was out there alone.

I tore open the front door and raced outside in time to see a figure running across the dark street. He was headed straight for Beth, who still stood in front of the convenience store.

Beth moved. Metal flashed and the vampire staggered, grabbing at the knife buried in his chest.

I sped down the steps and sailed over the fence – and came up short when I saw Beth run out to intercept the injured vampire. Her face was a mask of determination as she swung her sword, slicing cleanly through his neck. He dropped, and she stared at the body with an expression of disbelief on her face. I knew that look. I’d seen it enough times on warriors making their first vampire kill.

My chest expanded with pride and the knowledge that I’d been here for her first kill. I walked toward her as she pulled her knife from the vampire’s chest and wiped it clean on his pants.

“Good work,” I said.

I meant it. She had great aim with her throw, and she’d finished the job quickly. A more experienced warrior would have gone for the chest instead of the throat because the vampire was already half-dead. But I wasn’t going to correct her technique and ruin this moment for her.


She swallowed and took a step back. It was clear she was flattered by the praise but not comfortable with the person delivering it. I needed to change that.

Running feet alerted us to the fact we were not alone, and the two of us looked down the street as Brock and Mason approached, swords drawn. They slowed when they got close, and Mason’s eyes widened at the sight of Beth’s bloody sword.

“Way to go, Beth.”

Brock walked over to her and gave her a fist bump. She smiled, and I felt a pang of envy that she was so at ease with the other warrior.

“You guys going to stand out there all night?” Raoul called from the front step of the house.

I looked at Beth. “Ready to see the inside of a vampire nest?”

“Yes!” she and Mason said in unison.

I smiled at their excitement as I grabbed the dead vampire by the foot and dragged him to the house. Brock made a sound of disgust and picked up the head.

I left the corpse near the bushes lining the fence where it was out of sight of passersby. Then I followed the others into the house. When I entered the living room, I found Beth already tending to the humans, talking to them in a gentle, reassuring voice.

Raoul came to stand beside me in the doorway. “We have another girl upstairs. She’s in shock but uninjured.”

“Laurie!” One of the women leaped to her feet. “My sister. Where is she?”

Raoul held out a hand to her. “I’ll take you to her.”

“Should we call in a cleanup crew?” Mason asked me.

“They’re on the way.”

I stepped over one of the bodies to do a final sweep of the house, something I should have done before allowing Beth and Mason to come in.

The other team arrived a few minutes later and quickly got to work, disposing of the four bodies. The humans were treated and taken home since none of them had sustained serious injury. The man had been bitten, but he improved once we administered gunna paste.

While the others handled cleanup, Raoul and I went through the house and yard to look for clues to the fate of the homeowner. We both knew the elderly woman was dead, but it was part of our job to make sure. In the backyard, we found a mound of freshly turned soil, but we didn’t dig it up. Once we cleared out of here, one of us would call the human authorities to report a disturbance. They would investigate and discover the grave. It was all we could do for her.

It was after midnight when we finished up. I walked outside, looking for Beth, and saw her walking down the street to where she and Raoul had parked their bikes. Mason was nowhere to be seen. For once, she was alone.

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